One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Having characteristics of both sexes or no characteristics of either sex; of indeterminate sex.‘the sort of epicene beauty peculiar to boys of a certain age’
sexless, asexual, neuter, unsexedView synonyms
- ‘For someone who has spent much of his life perfecting an image of epicene other-worldliness, he now bears startlingly normal hallmarks of a bloke you'd enjoy talking to down the pub.’
- ‘The picture seems driven, at least partly, by an impulse to contradict the more epicene tendencies of this country's art-house filmmaking.’
- ‘He had an epicene beauty and his iconic character was the ‘thing in itself,’ comedy and pathos in the same figure.’
- ‘In the haunting, even epicene strains of the suite's final entry in E flat minor, the high beams of his immaturity shine so bright as to burn a hole in its very fabric.’
- ‘He was also a eunuch of such beauty that the sultan fell for his epicene handsomeness and appointed him his senior commander.’
- 1.1 Effeminate; effete.‘the actor infused the role with an epicene languor’
effeminate, womanish, unmanly, unmasculine, girlishView synonyms
- ‘In this movie though, it's formed out of an epicene husband and a working-class orphan who have cemented their bonds in her absence, in a tent on an overnighter in the dark forest, to the tune of hooting owls.’
- ‘‘More epicene than handsome, if you asked me,’ he muttered a bit darkly.’
- ‘Among my favorites are the triumphant warrior Fortinbras represented by a pair of barefoot drips in angel costume, he blond and epicene, she a redheaded virago.’
- ‘Their gestures, facial expressions, and vocal intonations render them stereotypically gay or epicene.’
- ‘There are also putti riding dolphins and angels with fluttering tunics pressing against their epicene bodies.’
An epicene person.
Late Middle English (as a grammatical term): via late Latin from Greek epikoinos (based on koinos ‘common’).
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